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A Comprehensive Guide to Meta Tags for SEO

A few years ago, the metadata of HTML pages played a significant role in SEO. However, their impact on Google's ranking and other search engines has now diminished. Despite this, it is still essential to include this information in the headers of your pages and use meta tags. They remain relevant for search engines and enable you to give instructions to web crawling robots.

Meta tags are encoded information found in the header of an HTML document that provides metadata. They are not visible on web pages and can only be read by user agents like browsers or search robots. The purpose of these meta elements is to offer additional information that makes HTML documents easier to parse.

A Comprehensive Guide to Meta Tags for SEO
A Comprehensive Guide to Meta Tags for SEO

Typically, meta tags follow the following structure:

<meta name="Element Name" content="Description"/>.

It is still necessary to use meta tags, and this format remains relevant.

<title> tag

The <title> tag in HTML is not technically a meta element, but a standalone HTML tag. However, it is often associated with metadata because of its interaction with user agents. It is a necessary element of the HTML header and is typically placed before all other meta tags. Web browsers read the <title> tag, and it appears in the browser tab, as a name when creating bookmarks, and in the browsing history.

Major search engines also use the <title> tag as the title of an article in their search results. It is one of many factors that can positively affect a page's ranking in organic search. To optimize a page, it is important to ensure that the <title> tag does not exceed 55 characters, so that it can be properly read by search engines.

meta description tag

The description tag is a small section on a webpage that provides a brief overview of its content. It is a crucial element of SEO since it is considered by major search engines like Google and Bing in their search results. To optimize click-through rates, website administrators should exercise caution while crafting their meta descriptions.

Website administrators should avoid exceeding the 160 character limit (including spaces) to ensure that the description does not get truncated in search engine results pages (SERPs). The meta description is primarily intended for the user and should provide a concise summary of the webpage's content. Google also recommends that each page on a website has a unique description that accurately reflects its content.

By providing value to the user, the meta description helps website administrators increase click-through rates during internet searches.

canonical tag

The rel="canonical" link tag serves as a means of indicating to search engines the primary version of a page that should be indexed and discovered by users.

This is typically used in situations where the same page is accessible via multiple URLs or where several pages with similar content cover the same topic. While internally duplicated content is not viewed as harshly as content copied from elsewhere, it can still be confusing for search engines.

Without specifying the preferred URL for ranking, search engines may select it for you. As a result, the selected URL is crawled more frequently, while the others are ignored. Although the risk of penalty is low, this is not an ideal situation.

viewport tag

It is easy to overlook the importance of the viewport tag, particularly in an age where people use a wide variety of devices to browse the internet.

However, this tag is crucial for ensuring an optimal browsing experience on all browsers. In fact, it has become a standard feature on modern websites.

Without the viewport tag, search engines will display web pages in the desktop version, even on mobile devices. This can lead to difficulties for smartphone users who will have to zoom in to read content. To address this issue, the following tag can be used:

<meta name="viewport" content="user-scalable=yes,width=device-width,minimum-scale=1,initial-scale=1">

Tag Robots

Meta tags serve the important function of providing indexing information to search engine crawlers. The meta robots tags, which are defined at the page level, contain data that directs search engine crawlers on how to handle the web page. One of the most important SEO meta tags is bot metadata, which includes the following directives:

  • FOLLOW: This directive instructs search engine crawlers to follow links from the current web page.
  • INDEX: This directive tells the search engine crawler to index the current web page so that it can appear in search results.
  • NOFOLLOW: Unlike "Follow," this directive instructs the search engine crawler not to follow the links on the current web page.
  • NOINDEX: Unlike "Index," this directive tells the search engine crawler not to index the current web page.

opengraphs tags, social media meta

Optimizing the way links to your website appear on social networks can be achieved through the use of meta tags designed for Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and other platforms. These meta tags allow you to customize the way your feed titles, descriptions, and images are displayed on different social networks. By controlling how your links are presented on these networks, you can provide an optimized overview of your content and increase engagement rates.

Character encoding tag

To ensure that special characters are displayed correctly in text, it is recommended to provide this information using HTML when it is not already defined in the HTTP header. The purpose of this is to display accents and other special characters without any errors. To specify the presence of special characters or another character encoding, the following meta tag can be used:

<meta charset="utf-8"/>

In Memorial

Finally, it's worth mentioning the Keywords meta tag. This tag used to be one of the most important factors in search engine ranking, as it contained a list of relevant keywords related to the content of the page, separated by commas. However, due to frequent abuse of this tag, Google made the decision to stop using it in 2009. As a result, this tag is no longer considered in search engine ranking algorithms.

Conclusion

While some meta tags remain essential for page taxonomy, others may not be considered essential. However, utilizing these meta tags can give you an advantage over your competitors who have not taken advantage of them. Making small changes that enhance the user experience and help search engines better understand your site can be beneficial for both parties and can lead to long-term benefits.

To optimize your site's meta tags and improve your SEO, consider hiring a freelance SEO consultant. You can post your project for free on Codeur.com to receive quotes from professionals quickly and free of charge.

MITA SGTINF
By : MITA SGTINF
My name is Duc "JOSEF" Le and I work in Digital Marketing at Mageplaza and BlogAvada. Mageplaza offers a comprehensive collection of over 230 extensions that are designed to work seamlessly with the latest versions of Magento 2 (Adobe Commerce). Meanwhile, BlogAvada is a blog that serves as a platform for sharing information related to websites, mobile apps, e-commerce, digital marketing, and other related topics. I encourage you to visit our websites to learn more about what we have to offer.
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